This post has been sponsored by Direct Orthopedic Care. All opinions are 100% our own.
Do you know what deconditioned means? It’s what happens to an athlete in the off season, say, during summer break. Basically, it’s the loss of fitness or game-readiness because muscles have been underused for an extended period of time.
The problem with deconditioning? When an athlete returns to activity (fall sports, for example), injuries become more of a concern.
The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to help prevent deconditioning injuries.
5 Tips to Avoid Sports Injuries (from Direct Orthopedic Care)
1. Talk to your orthopedic specialist.
The first step to take when returning to sports is to check in with an orthopedic doctor to be given the all clear if you’ve suffered from an injury in the past. Old injuries sometimes resurface after deconditioning.
Pro tip: Even if you haven’t seen an ortho specialist in the past, consider setting up a visit with one of their providers or physical therapists to help reduce your risk, as well as optimize your athletic performance.
2. Stretch it out.
We all know how important this is; stretching before and after workouts helps reduce soft tissue and muscle injuries.
Direct Orthopedic Care recommends beginning with dynamic stretches before activity to warm up and prepare the body for exercise. End your workout with static stretches, holding a position for a period of time, to help cool down the body
You can help kids remember to stretch by stressing that the vast majority of pro athletes who are sidelined with injuries is due to soft tissue damage, and many times that injury could’ve been avoided with a proper warmup.
3. Ease back in and focus on technique, then building strength.
You shouldn’t rush to return to “normal.” If you haven’t been consistently conditioning, you may find that your flexibility, speed, agility, and performance has declined over the months of reduced activity.
For student athletes: Keep your focus on technique with weight-free basic exercises. Ask your coach to observe your workout for form, and once you’ve gotten back into the groove, add weights to help build strength.
Easing back in slowly will help avoid injuries, as well as symptoms of heat intolerance. Let’s never underestimate the brutal heat! Which brings us to the next tip…
4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more.
Like stretching, we know how critical proper hydration is for athletes. It affects performance, flexibility, endurance, and even the mildest level of dehydration can cause internal issues that play a role in athletic ability.
Drink smaller amounts of hydrating fluids every 15 minutes before, during, and after activity (and more often if you feel thirsty). Check your urine for signs of dehydration. It should be clear before workouts.
Pro tip: A good general rule of thumb is to divide your body weight in half and drink that many ounces of water daily.
5. Check your shoes.
It’s essential to wear the proper footwear for your sport; it helps you maintain balance and protects your ankles, feet, knees, and even hips. Make sure you go to an actual store to get fitted properly, especially with little ones whose feet are always growing—we need to make sure they’re truly wearing the correct size!
What should you do after a sports injury?
Injuries can happen despite our best efforts. If you have an athlete in your home or anyone who might end up with an orthopedic injury, be sure to check out Direct Orthopedic Care for location information (or telehealth after hours!), types of injuries treated, and a cost comparison to the ER. (Guess what? Direct Orthopedic Care is much less!)
They treat injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system: bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves. They also offer physical therapy and pain management for chronic pain. If you or anyone in your family could use help in these areas, I highly recommend clicking on their highly detailed treatment options for more details.
For more sports injury prevention and treatment info directly from the source, check out our recent Facebook Live with Direct Orthopedic Care’s very own Dr. Grantham!
Direct Orthopedic Care locations near you:
Plano | 3412 E. Hebron Pkwy, Suite 106 Carrollton, TX 75007
Frisco | 9500 Dallas Parkway, Suite 100 Frisco, TX 75034
McKinney | 4600 Eldorado Parkway, Suite 600 McKinney, TX 75070
Murphy | 418 Village Drive Murphy, TX 75094
Mansfield | 1900 Matlock Rd, Bldg 1 Mansfield, TX 76063
Irving – Las Colinas | 3014 North O’Connor Road, Suite 200 Irving, TX 75062
Southlake | 2419 West Southlake Blvd. Southlake, TX 76092